Just over two years ago I spent one of the best few days hanging out with two of my Irish friends that I met while teaching English in Hungry (a blog about the camp is available at https://rhysreviews.com/2019/08/03/hungary-week-2/)It was great being able to catch up with my friends after having spent a week in the summer camp ‘bubble’ together which always seem to be independent of normal time where unbreakable bonds are made in a matter of days and heated rivalries take just hours to boil over. This was even more special considering that two months after my friends had left wales, the UK was put into a nationwide lockdown and so this was the last time in a while where we could actually get together. One particular night that made that made this get together so particularly special was the fact that during a night out we bumped into none other than John Barrowman, H from Steps and Matt Evers. We spent the night partying with these famous faces in multiple clubs where we received incredible VIP service which was such a surreal experience! During the course of these three days, my Irish friends would educate me on things such as Irish traditions, culture, history, language etc which I really enjoyed learning about and if you have been a fan of my page for a while you will know that where education meets entertainment is the most enjoyable hybrid for me. The traditional Irish culture is crammed full of myths, stories, songs and celebrations which the new concept recording of ‘Colours’ really integrates into their new music!
This brand new musical album tells the story of Aedan Cara (played in this recording by the talented Emma Langford) who is rumoured to be the last princess of Ireland. She lives an easy and carefree life on the long-forgotten Crodhearg Island but when the English decide to invade this peaceful island it becomes Aedan’s quest to venture to the Celtic Otherworld world in mythical Sword of Light, said to help rescue the island in times of great danger. However, throughout the course of this adventure, she learns that the power she needs cannot be simply found in a mythical idea but instead within herself and her people. This musical comes from the creative mind of Charli Eglinton who clearly has taken great care in ensuring that the idea of storytelling becomes central to the musical. The opening number in this musical titled ‘Corghearg island’ begins with a narrative voice that sets up the story and introduces characters in a very factual manner. It then continues with the chorus members singing about the historic elements and influences which truly helps to keep the idea of myths in the forefront of the narrative. You could easily imagine this story and musical being structured as a storybook that families would tell to young children (due to the heroic lead character, the empowering and ethical message of the story as well as the fantastical setting our hero has to travel through!
The music within the concept album again has a heavy focus of storytelling with many Celtic elements (such as dialect, stringed instruments etc) being utilised in the numbers to really drive home that it is set in Ireland. The second track in this album is a song called “flawless” which is a perfect description of the vocals in this song. Performed by the lead actresses Emma Langford this song are a very primate and pretty love song dedicated to a mysterious stranger. However, the highlight in this recording for me would have to be the song titled “these hands” which was a very emotionally powerful song about the guilt of war and fighting. Grant Cartwright manages to perfectly capture the peaks and troughs of this characters almost unstable state which is only added to by the wonderful accompaniment. The song strips back at key points in order to focus on the turmoil of the character and then builds to match the rising tension which is very clever. I can see this song being performed in cabarets up and down the country as it relies on one singular performer who is able to portray emotions through song as effectively as Grant does in this recording. Talking about stripped back songs that focus on emotion rather than powerful noise, Emma Langford’s rendition of “Rise” was another excellent song that truly showcases the performer talent to emote through song! Unlike the previous song, however, “Rise” is an empowering and uplifting ballad that helps create a warm feeling in any of the listeners. Our two performers join together to perform “Let Me Go” which as you would expect from two wonderful vocalists was a treat on the ears. This song is mostly performed by Emma but has some support from her duet partner to create a song that is not only emotional but also very powerful!
Overall, Colours is an adventurous musical that tells the story of a hero who discovers that the she is powerful and the importance of community. I have to admit that the album art for this album is a little misleading as it suggests that it is targeted to a much younger audience (due to the cartoon elements) but it is most definitely a story that a more mature audience will be able to understand and relate to. I would rate this concept recording 4 out of 5 stars!
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